His love is Deep....

My morning drive into work today I was praying, asking God to break us open, renew us, restore us to who we are intended to be and that we will truly seek to be holy, set apart from this world as He expects us to be. Immediately after I prayed these words, I felt His presence pour love upon me and I immediately prayed His love be poured out upon those who are desperate need of Him today. Do you know how deep the Father’s love is for you? To the point He will discipline us when necessary and I promise you it will not be easy to bear. His discipline is necessary, but He is a good and loving Father who promises to love and care for us deeply. Are we ready for what’s coming?

My devotional this morning was spot on with what God was speaking to me this morning on the way in to work. Numbers 12:1-15 we find Moses, Miriam and Aaron immediately thrust into the reality of God’s expectation of us to be obedient, and when we are not, He will show Himself to be a just God by providing His discipline. Miriam and Aaron didn’t understand and talked among themselves about how God seemed to only speak to Moses, as if they weren’t in as great a position of authority as Moses was that they felt they deserved. God knew, and He called them out on it. He immediately told the 3 of them, (as if God is required to explain it to us! He owes us nothing!) that He spoke to and appeared to Moses because he was called, a prophet of the Most High God. God was angry with them and He made His discipline clear. Miriam was struck immediately with leprosy, and even though Moses pleaded with God to spare her, God made it very clear that the choice had been made so the punishment had been dealt as He intended.

None of us likes to be punished, but why are we surprised when we choose to act upon our weak, selfish and prideful humanity that God allows us to deal with the consequences? What’s your excuse?

“I’ve just done so many bad things in my life, why bother changing now? How could God forgive or even love someone like me after what I’ve done?”

“Life is life, right? I’m already on a roll, leaving a path of destruction wherever I go so what’s the point of changing now? There’s no hope for me.”

“I like living this way. I do what I want, go where I want, do whatever I want to do, and I don’t care who gets run over in the process. As long as I get what I want, I could care less what anyone thinks.”

“Who do you think you are? Telling me things would be so much better for me if I simply accept that this God of yours actually cares about me and loves me? Look at my life! He doesn’t know me or care about me, or He’d reach down and stop the madness that is happening in this world and give me whatever I need right now!”

How far will we go to push God away? How incredibly selfish we are to think that God would meet us only according to our idea of Who He is? What is it going to take to convince you that there is more to life than what you are doing with it right now? Take a good, hard look at yourself right now and hear the words I am speaking to you now: God loves you, God will forgive you, and God will provide for you precisely what you need! He will not pluck you out of whatever circumstance you are in because He is not some puppet master in the sky. You have free will, and therefore you have the power and ability to take hold of your life and make it better! He will allow whatever you are experiencing to play out because He is teaching you something through it. I say this from experience my friend, and I know what it is like to hit the bottom of that pit thinking there is no way out, it is not going to get better, it is hopeless. There is only one way out when you are at the bottom and that is up. I promise you, if you are willing to see Him, His hands are stretched down to you and ready to scoop you out and up into the light of life lived fully and completely in Him! It is hard, but it is worth the climb out of that pit, the effort you will have to make to improve your life and it will be a life long journey. I know, I’m living it too. Life is hard, it doesn’t get easier when you choose a life in Christ. It is very hard. But He is good, and He is faithful, and He will be with you every step of the way.

We have to choose to live life better, and many days the choice is near impossible. So we have to choose it even when in our minds and our hearts we simply don’t feel like it. Look at what Christ did for you and for me, and I don’t think you’ll have to consider very long whether or not it is worth it to live life better. He endured the worst, so we could experience His best.

I know what my choice is, so what is yours?

I am praying for you, not sure where your heart is today but I believe God is going to do a mighty work in you that will change you forever. I promise you’ll be so glad you did!

Comfy Couch of Chaos

Last night I had trouble going to sleep despite being so incredibly tired. I’ve been so burdened for several people in my life who are hurting, struggling, living in bondage, in chaos. I love them dearly but my heart breaks as the words are on the edge of my mind, my prayers crying out to God for them to be free, to choose the freedom Christ has given them! I can’t do it for them, they’ve got to choose it for themselves. Why is it so hard to do that? Why do so many of us allow ourselves to keep living in this bondage we’ve essentially put upon ourselves? There is a Name above every other name, Jesus, and He came to seek and to save the lost, to redeem and restore us! So why do we come together on Sunday and find out way to the altar after pouring out our most recent drama to someone, and then turn back around during the week and let ourselves get weighed down, pulled into the next drama? I don’t understand, and I try very hard to find a consistently loving and firm way to live out the freedom Christ has given me so that others would choose to live the same way.

God spoke into my heart and mind last night about the image of the Shepherd taking care of His flock, and the realization in Isaiah 53:6 that we have all gone astray, turning to our own way. But….

The Good Shepherd knows His sheep….even though we are scattered, wandering (Ezekiel 34:6)….He knows His sheep. He knows me. He knows you. He will take loving care of His flock (Isaiah 40:11), gather all of them in his arms, carry them, lead them. He is always there, never far. We are never alone!

So what has you sitting in your misery, your chaos today wondering where God is? That right there my friend is a lie, deceit that the guy downstairs would love for you to embrace, sink into like a comfy couch that will turn out to be a whole lot harder to get out of the longer you sit in it. Misery loves company, hate to say that phrase but it’s true. Conversation tends to flow a whole lot easier and longer when we have something to complain about and a group around us willing to listen and stand by and not say anything different.

How’s your relationship with God? Are you a believer, saved by Grace and yet you find life just hasn’t been fair, things just keep turning out badly for you, you can’t figure out why? Here’s a news flash for you my friend: Life is not fair most of the time, but you have a choice to live it like Christ in spite of that! As your sister in Christ, I am compelled by the power of God to implore you to get up out of that pit that honestly you have dug for yourself, and stand firm! You are a child of the Most Awesome and Powerful God and He lives in you so get up, get out and get a new perspective! The next thing you do is what is hardest I think….keep it up.

Choose to step out and live like Christ, live in His freedom every single day! I can’t imagine how heartbroken God is when He sees us acting one way on Sunday, maybe early into the week but by Tuesday night we are slumped back into that pit, that comfy couch of chaos. You don’t deserve it, and for goodness sake our great big God doesn’t….He has compelled us, empowered us to live life better and bigger! It doesn’t come naturally for any of us to live life in Christ, because we are human. But because of Christ living in us, we can choose to live life in Christ by drawing our strength, shaping our focus around that which does not come naturally to us.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” Jesus (John 10:10)

The guy downstairs is always going to find a weakness in you to play upon, dig a little deeper, bring more chaos, more strife, more division into your life, your marriage, your family and especially in our churches! If we let him have the power he doesn’t deserve, he will most certainly do what he is here to do…steal, kill and destroy. But we are better than that because we have Christ in us. We are overcomers because of the blood of the Lamb!

We can do all things through Christ who is our strength! (Philippians 4:13)

So what are you going to do about it? How are you going to choose to live daily in the freedom of Christ? Don’t go to the altar on Sunday if you don’t mean it. By mean it, I mean that you are truly leaving it at the feet of Jesus. If you are bringing it back the next week, and the month after that, and the year after that, then you haven’t really let it go to the Father. I can’t do it for you, nobody can. But let’s get real okay? He has promised to be with you, to care for you, to carry you when you can’t take another step. He is faithful, even when you don’t feel like He is there. He will never leave you, He is always with you. So, I’m praying without ceasing, it is my daily prayer with my Father God to be better than I was yesterday, to love without hesitation, to speak words of kindness, to reflect Christ in every single thing I do because my life is going to leave some sort of mark on someone else’s life today whether I realize it or not.

I’m choosing to live like Christ even when I don’t feel like it. What about you?

Wrapping up this blog entry with words from an inspiring song I am listening to now by Bryan and Katie Torwalt called “Shores”. I hope it resonates for you today as you consider your choice to live in Christ, live in His freedom.

Freedom, take hold of my heart
Spirit of God, come fill this place
Jesus, You're all that I want
Have your way

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